The Importance of Protein in Supporting Your Menstrual Cycle

Jun 17, 2024 | Food

Protein plays a crucial role for us menstruating people during our menstrual cycle. At first I thought ok, that’s great, I eat two eggs for breakfast! I was right on track, right? WRONG!

Turns out we need 1g per kilo of body weight (according to many of the menstrual gurus out there like Dr Lara Briden). To put that in perspective for my non metric people 150lb (68.2k) person would need 68g of protein.

And of course breakfast is the place to start as 30 grams of protein at breakfast is the recommended way to start the day. That’s 5 eggs. No way! So then I thought, well 30g can’t be that important, I know protein is huge but it can’t be that big of a deal. I decided to dig into it and turns out yep, 30g really is a solid goal for breakfast, and there are way more reasons why than I thought! A big one being setting up your blood sugar for the day. The cravings, energy crashes, so much of our daily ups and downs can be stopped, or at least reduced, with a protein heavy breakfast. 

Turns out a smoothie for breakfast isn’t a great idea, you can add a lot of protein to it, but it’s tough to get 30g in a smoothie. I’ve been moving my smoothie to after breakfast so I’ve got a nice full belly and then doing my seed cycling in my smoothie as a morning snack.

Ready to learn how protein supports your body during the menstrual cycle?

 

1. Hormonal Health

Proteins are composed of amino acids, which are the building blocks for hormones like estrogen and progesterone that regulate the menstrual cycle. It’s critical to get enough protein in each day to keep these hormones in balance!

2. Uterine Lining Sheds Then Repairs, and Regenerates:

Your uterine lining needs to repair and regenerate during menstruation. Protein provides the amino acids necessary for this process. It’s clear that limiting protein increases fatigue, brain fog, etc. and part of that is because we need it for this additional task of shedding and rebuilding our lining. Feed your body what it needs!

3. Blood Production:

Protein helps your body absorb iron, vital for blood production, which I hope is an obvious need for us. Sorry, iron loss during menstruation can lead to fatigue – but protein can help prevent that! Keep in mind plant based iron isn’t absorbed the same so you may need to increase or change up your protein and iron intake if you’re fully plant based. It’s not something I recommend for most people with a period as it’s super hard to get enough, and people with O blood type don’t have many enzymes for plant iron absorption.

4. Energy Balance and Feeling Full:

Protein provides energy, keeps blood sugar levels stable, and keeps you full. Say goodbye to those pesky cravings and mood swings! Protein is a macronutrient, and those macronutrients are super helpful for feeling satisfied for hours after your meal.

5. Building and Keeping Muscle:

This becomes more and more important each decade though your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and postmenopause as you lose muscle density and that affects bone density. For your long term health this is SUPER important! Protein supports muscle recovery, repair, and strength – helping you feel strong and resilient.

ALSO – Protein can help reduce cramping for this very reason. The uterus is a muscle so if you’re cramping isn’t from something like endometriosis lack of protein could very well be a contributing factor!

How do you get more protein in the morning?

This is a challenge for me. I like my eggs in Follicular, Ovulation, and Luteal. Then I switch to a buckwheat bowl (basically oatmeal but with a bit more protein, oatmeal makes me gag, but I love buckwheat. If you love oatmeal just take a look at how much protein you need to go along with it) which I pack with nuts, seeds, some dried fruit and banana for potassium. 

For me the easiest thing to do was add salmon, chicken, or turkey bacon, along with some goat cheese to my eggs in the morning, and goat yogurt to my buckwheat bowl. I do love cottage cheese so when I find a high quality one on sale I grab it and add that (grass fed, full fat with active cultures).

But adding collagen to your morning tea, or drinking bone broth is the absolute easiest! One cup of chicken bone broth is 10g of protein (that’s .23 liters). One cup of liquid isn’t much so having two along with a couple eggs will do it. I don’t go to Starbucks so I googled this for comparison, a Grande is 16oz, which is 2 cups.

If you’re looking to eat for your hormonal health…

Sign up for my free e-series Food in Flow! It’s a month long so you can walk through a full cycle of eating foods that support your hormones in each phase. I’ll hold your hand the whole way, with tips, recipes, inspiration, including ideas on different way to cook.

And while I do share how to use this month as a ‘detox’ reducing caffeine, sugar, and the link you don’t HAVE to do that. You can simply add in these hormone balancing foods and you’ll see a difference!